They never learn

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Once again the people who are in charge of the development of Australia’s future submarine are saying the same things that got them into trouble in the past.

In the Weekend Australian Oct 29-30 2016, Rear Admiral Stephen Johnson (US Navy retired) claimed that, anyone who says that you can’t put a diesel engine into a nuclear submarine design doesn’t know what they are talking about.  Mr. Johnson now has the job as General Manager, Submarines, in the Australian Defence Depts Capability and Sustainment Group (CASG.)  Of course he would say that.

He further claims that many aspects of the future diesel design, e.g. cooling and generation systems, galley arrangements, hydraulic steering, (etc) will be similar.  He does not mention that over 22,000 pages of sensitive classified information on DCNS submarines have been leaked to the public allegedly by disgruntled ex-employees.  So much for security!

They are tarred with the same brush.

Rear Admiral Greg Sammut, head of the Future Submarine program at CASG notes that (the submarine),  ..”it’s a new design because no existing design meets our requirements.”  (Echoes of the SeaSprite fiasco.)

He also said, “it’s going to take a period to get sufficient design maturity before we start construction.”

What they do not understand is this:

Australia cannot afford the luxury of a custom-designed submarine. Why?

  • Because there is NO TIME to do this.
  • By their public statements, Defence Dept have admitted that the design (even if they manage to fit a diesel piston engine to a nuclear sub) will take 15 years at least including testing and evaluation
  • By the best estimate the deeply flawed Collins class submarines will be worn out completely by 2025. They may not even last that long.
  • A decision by our Defence Dept to build a custom designed Future Submarine should have been made about 15 years ago. This would have been right in the middle of the SeaSprite custom helicopter fiasco and politically difficult.  So they sat on their hands for 15 years.  This is woefully delinquent.
  • We will now have a situation where, if the Defence Dept and their cronies have their way we will be without a front line submarine fleet for at least 15 years. That’s like owning a house in a dodgy neighbourhood without a front door.

A common management mistake in the sporting world is to make “Managers” out of people who have retired from sport.  Frequently these people are hopelessly unqualified for the job, and are only hired in the first place out of “loyalty.”

Note that the “Management” in the case of the Future Submarine project are ex-boat drivers.  They have no actual expertise in project management but get a job anyway.

It is these hopelessly out-of-their depth people who are tasked with the job of spending $50 billion of taxpayers money.

Worse, they have no sense of urgency, because they have only ever worked in bureaucracy.

The potential gap of up to 20 years in a front line submarine fleet is the massive consequence of the absolutely inept Dept of Defence.

Gary Johnston
Submarines For Australia